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Kline, DI, Teneva L, Schneider K, Miard T, Chai A, Marker M, Headley K, Opdyke B, Nash M, Valetich M, Caves JK, Russell BD, Connell SD, Kirkwood BJ, Brewer P, Peltzer E, Silverman J, Caldeira K, Dunbar RB, Koseff JR, Monismith SG, Mitchell BG, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2012.  A short-term in situ CO2 enrichment experiment on Heron Island (GBR). Scientific Reports. 2   10.1038/srep00413   AbstractWebsite

Ocean acidification poses multiple challenges for coral reefs on molecular to ecological scales, yet previous experimental studies of the impact of projected CO2 concentrations have mostly been done in aquarium systems with corals removed from their natural ecosystem and placed under artificial light and seawater conditions. The Coral-Proto Free Ocean Carbon Enrichment System (CP-FOCE) uses a network of sensors to monitor conditions within each flume and maintain experimental pH as an offset from environmental pH using feedback control on the injection of low pH seawater. Carbonate chemistry conditions maintained in the -0.06 and -0.22 pH offset treatments were significantly different than environmental conditions. The results from this short-term experiment suggest that the CP-FOCE is an important new experimental system to study in situ impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems.

Diaz-Pulido, G, Anthony KRN, Kline DI, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O.  2012.  Interactions between ocean acidification and warming on the mortality and dissolution of coralline algae. Journal of Phycology. 48:32-39.   10.1111/j.1529-8817.2011.01084.x   AbstractWebsite

Coralline algae are among the most sensitive calcifying organisms to ocean acidification as a result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2). Little is known, however, about the combined impacts of increased pCO2, ocean acidification, and sea surface temperature on tissue mortality and skeletal dissolution of coralline algae. To address this issue, we conducted factorial manipulative experiments of elevated CO2 and temperature and examined the consequences on tissue survival and skeletal dissolution of the crustose coralline alga (CCA) Porolithon (=Hydrolithon) onkodes (Heydr.) Foslie (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta) on the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. We observed that warming amplified the negative effects of high pCO2 on the health of the algae: rates of advanced partial mortality of CCA increased from <1% to 9% under high CO2 (from 400 to 1,100 ppm) and exacerbated to 15% under warming conditions (from 26 degrees C to 29 degrees C). Furthermore, the effect of pCO2 on skeletal dissolution strongly depended on temperature. Dissolution of P. onkodes only occurred in the high-pCO2 treatment and was greater in the warm treatment. Enhanced skeletal dissolution was also associated with a significant increase in the abundance of endolithic algae. Our results demonstrate that P. onkodes is particularly sensitive to ocean acidification under warm conditions, suggesting that previous experiments focused on ocean acidification alone have underestimated the impact of future conditions on coralline algae. Given the central role that coralline algae play within coral reefs, these conclusions have serious ramifications for the integrity of coral-reef ecosystems.

Kline, DI, Vollmer SV.  2011.  White Band Disease (type I) of Endangered Caribbean Acroporid Corals is Caused by Pathogenic Bacteria. Scientific Reports. 1   10.1038/srep00007   AbstractWebsite

Diseases affecting coral reefs have increased exponentially over the last three decades and contributed to their decline, particularly in the Caribbean. In most cases, the responsible pathogens have not been isolated, often due to the difficulty in isolating and culturing marine bacteria. White Band Disease (WBD) has caused unprecedented declines in the Caribbean acroporid corals, resulting in their listings as threatened on the US Threatened and Endangered Species List and critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Yet, despite the importance of WBD, the probable pathogen(s) have not yet been determined. Here we present in situ transmission data from a series of filtrate and antibiotic treatments of disease tissue that indicate that WBD is contagious and caused by bacterial pathogen(s). Additionally our data suggest that Ampicillin could be considered as a treatment for WBD (type I).

Kuntz, NM, Kline DI, Sandin SA, Rohwer F.  2005.  Pathologies and mortality rates caused by organic carbon and nutrient stressors in three Caribbean coral species. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 294:173-180.   10.3354/meps294173   AbstractWebsite

Anthropogenic inputs, including organic carbon and nutrient loading, are increasingly changing the water quality on coral reefs. Herein we show that treating Montastraea annularis, Agaricia tenuifolia and Porites furcata with various organic carbon sources (starch, lactose, arabinose and mannose) results in different species-specific and carbon-specific pathologies and rates of mortality. The variation in the pathological characteristics caused by stressors showed that visual cues for determining coral health and disease may be misleading. The probability of mortality increased significantly over time with continual exposure to several of the stressors, suggesting that chronic stressors may be more harmful than acute stressors. In contrast to the organic carbon sources, high concentrations of nutrients (phosphate, ammonium and nitrate) did not directly kill corals. The variation in coral responses to anthropogenic stressors means that changes on disturbed coral reefs will depend on the type of and duration of exposure to the stressor, as well as on the species of coral.